Teletherapy at a glance

Teletherapy has been around for more than two decades and can be delivered through videoconferencing, phone or online messaging.

Alternate terms for teletherapy include telebehavioral health, telepsychiatry, e-behavioral health, telemental health, e-care and telecare.

Multiple peer-reviewed studies, including several meta-analyses, show that teletherapy is as effective as in-person therapy for certain conditions.

Link to main story: TeleHELP in higher ed

While teletherapy is much like traditional therapy, experts suggest clinicians be trained in leading sessions remotely. Any clinician with a license to write prescriptions for in-person therapy is permitted to do the same for teletherapy clients. As long as it’s provided by a licensed professional, teletherapy is covered by most health insurance and is HIPPA-compliant.

Some colleges that provide teletherapy offer it only to students who are off campus for an internship or to students who take all their courses online. For an internal solution, institutions can train their therapists to check in with students via Skype or Facetime, or offer online, self-guided tutorials.

When using an outside provider, staff clinicians will still generally conduct a needs assessment in person or by phone before connecting a student to teletherapy. State licensing regulations require teletherapists to be located within the same state as their client.

Theresa Sullivan Barger is a Connecticut-based writer.


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